New Passivhaus Software Is Out
The latest version of the Passive House Planning Package is said to be suitable for all climates, not just central Europe
Germany's Passivhaus Institut has released a new version of the Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. Planning Package (PHPP), the software used to design Passivhaus buildings. The new software, PHPP version 8, is said to be suitable for all climates, including those with cooling and dehumidification requirements.
According to Passivhaus founder Dr. Wolfgang Feist, the latest PHPP spreadsheet program "keeps pace with new developments in the field."
"Comparative studies with dynamic building simulations have shown that the revised algorithms in PHPP 8 not only work for Central European locations but also deliver excellent results for cold, warm-temperature, hot-humid climates," the Institute said.
The new software also makes a greater accommodation for renewable energy. In addition to solar hot water covered in previous versions of PHPP, this one also includes calculations for photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. systems, heat pumps and geothermal.
Later in the year, designPH, a new planning plug-in, will be released. The SketchUp-based tool will allow designers to model their buildings in three dimensions.
PHPP 8 can be ordered online from the Passivhaus Institut or from one of the U.S. distributors listed on the web site: Four Seven Five in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Passive House Academy in Brooklyn, N.Y.; or Small Planet Workshop in Olympia, WA.
Upgrading from an earlier version of PHPP is $175; for new users it's $225.
- Passivhaus Institut